HRC on SNL

Speaking of TV, I’m guessing most readers saw the Hillary Clinton segment in the season premiere of Saturday Night Live either live or subsequently on video. In case you didn’t, here it is:

Entertainment writer Kevin Fallon called the segment and indeed the whole show “basically a Hillary Clinton campaign ad,” allowing her to appear “relatable” and even mock some of her own obvious weaknesses. Letting her implicitly apologize for a calculated tardiness in supporting marriage equality and opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline was especially shrewd given the attack lines liberal voters are hearing about her on the primary campaign trail.

The question is: will it matter? I’m sure some Clinton aficionados hope this type of appearance could work the same subtle but tangible magic as her husband’s famous Arsenio Hall saxophone gig in 1992. But it’s rather important to remember that Bill Clinton was still relatively unknown in 1992, while Hillary is one of the more heavily analyzed, lionized and demonized figures in American political history. Changing her image, even at the margins, is rather like turning a huge battleship in a canal lock. Unless she plans to become a SNL cast regular, it’s unlikely this sort of thing will do the trick.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.